Skip to main content

Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

See other formats

declarations. It rather recalls the power politics of the early part of the
nineteenth century and the eighteenth century, when the balance of power
was regarded as the dominant principle in international politics . . ,
Lord Noel-Buxton : The claim of Poland is, of course, overwhelming.
There has always been keen sympathy with Poland because of her hard fate
since 1772, when the first partition occurred. Sympathy has been vastly
increased by the appalling sufferings of recent times. Quite apart from the
question of compensating her for her territorial losses, there is the utmost
desire to compensate her for the atrocious methods used against her by
Germany. The enormities perpetuated naturally aroused a universal wish
to avenge her wrongs. But our business is to take long views of Poland's
interest and to remember that such views can be obscured by the emotions
of war. Compensation by transfer of lands and populations to alien rulej
or the deportation of peoples from their homes, is not the appropriate
method. The German population concerned is solid. Germany would
seek recovery at the first opportunity. Hostility would be ensured. We
all feel the right of the Poles to the fullest life, but for the sake of that life
their greatest interest is peace in the future.
Poles are divided on this annexation question. Some of them foresee
the danger. British sympathy with Poland cannot be too great. We ought
to be ready to make more sacrifices for Poland. I suggest that the true form
of compensation would be economic aid from the Allies and restitution by
Germany in kind. We ourselves ought to take a full share, especially in
financial help. The guarantee which we gave in 1939 adds greatly to our
obligations. I want to urge the extreme danger of disregarding the principle
of self-determination on such a large scale as is anticipated . . .
Lord Vansittart: . . . the detachment of East Prussia from the Reich
is the only conceivable way in which you can ensure to Poland free and safe
access to the sea, unless you are going to revert to the timorous absurdity
of the Corridor. It happens, moreover, that to detach East Prussia from
the Reich is the only way to ensure against future war. . . . Men are very
frequently inclined to be the most critical of those whom they have wronged
and that seems to be so in the case of oft-partitioned Poland. During the
past year., I have hardly heard a good word for Poland. On the contrary,
there has been some pretty steady sneering. I feel'it is about time that
stopped. I feel that we should think more frequently of Poland who, out
of her thirty-four million original inhabitants, has already lost nine million
by deportation and massacre, and we should think also more frequently
of the Poland who has played such a glorious part in Southern Italy and
earned the thanks of General Alexander.
The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs (Lord Cecil) : What
I suggest is important in any settlement that may eventually be reached is
that if Poland is to survive—and I have no doubt we all wish the Polish
nation to survive—she should be given " an ample seaboard and a good,
adequate, and reasonable homeland in which the Polish nation may safely
dwell." That is very important, and anything less than that, in my opinion,
is likely to sow the seeds of future trouble. I could not help thinking, as I
listened to the noble Lord, Lord Noel-Buxton, that he almost seemed more
concerned about the future of Germany than he was about the future of
Poland. Let us not forget that we owe a great deal to Poland—more than
we can ever repay. I hope we shall never neglect her interests or abandon
her in order to appease our enemies.
Lord Winster : If there is any enslaved country of Europe which de-
serves to be freed and to be allowed to decide its own fate without outside
interference, it certainly is Poland. We went to war for Polish independence;